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Elizabeth Harber's story

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I joined Grant Thornton as an administrative assistant in the Dallas office more than nine years ago. I learned about the firm through an organization called LaunchAbility® that helps people with developmental disabilities find awesome jobs and careers. They have a process where they assess your interests and abilities, and then assign you to a coach. I was able to work on interview skills and even specific job skills in advance of being hired; then my coach actually came and spent a day with me in the office once a month after I got the job. Her name is Anne Hudson, and she still comes a few times a year — it has been a really great way for me to keep growing my whole self.

Grant Thornton leaders have also been really supportive. Our past CEO, Stephen Chipman, has been on the board of LaunchAbility, and he was responsible for my hiring and has kept in touch over the years. Lou Grabowsky, who has retired as the firm’s CFO, has also been really supportive. Through them, I’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing experiences during my time here.

I’m involved in a lot of activities inside and outside of work, and I always get a lot of support from my colleagues. I’ve worked on firm-sponsored events like the one our Diversity & Inclusion initiative did at Dave & Buster’s. I’m also very involved with Special Olympics Texas, and I recently became a member of the President’s Advisory Council for Special Olympics. It’s really exciting to be a part of such an important thing.

Another sport I love is rappelling — I’m part of a program called Over the Edge, and I raise funds through individual donors for events and Grant Thornton matches it. Last year I raised more than $3,000, which was way over my goal of $1,000. For those of us that reached their fundraising goals, there were really amazing opportunities to rappel off of big office buildings in Dallas, like the Bank of America building. It was so great! My next goal is to put an office team together and include my Grant Thornton colleagues.

People at Grant Thornton have come to support me and cheer me on in my activities, and I appreciate it. I always try and let them know when something is coming up. Having them join the team is always fun, but just coming to support me and other team members is great too.

Through LaunchAbility and the support of Grant Thornton, I’ve continued to learn and grow, and I’ve expanded my scope of responsibility at work over the years. That feels great. Working for a firm that was interested from the beginning in helping me grow my whole self is definitely why I’ve had such a good experience here. I think the fact that the firm’s leaders are actively involved in giving back and have stayed involved with my growth over the course of my career really sets Grant Thornton apart. I’m excited to be here, and I hope to be here for many more years.

By the way, if you’re interested in seeing what LaunchAbility is all about — or even getting involved — please go to www.launchability.org for more information.